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Thread: Baduanjin (8-section brocade)

  1. #256
    Yes movement is the same all the way through, focus different for each set.

    One thing I forgot to mention is you may feel stuck when doing it at certain points, if you do focus on that spot briefly but then move on, make sure you go all the way down.
    The idea is to open/reinforce the channels.

  2. #257
    Quote Originally Posted by sirdude View Post
    Yes movement is the same all the way through, focus different for each set.

    One thing I forgot to mention is you may feel stuck when doing it at certain points, if you do focus on that spot briefly but then move on, make sure you go all the way down.
    The idea is to open/reinforce the channels.
    Thanks, that sounds like solid advice.

    I don't usually feel anything in the channels as such, but distinct regions activate. Or when I activate a region there's often a sympathetic effect in an adjacent region, for example gladdening the areas behind the eyes also causes the area behind the solar plexus to light up. So I assume the channel is working, even if I can't perceive it.

  3. #258
    Quote Originally Posted by YinOrYan View Post
    Perhaps it had something to do with a crossbow, sort of like this:
    The last four seconds of this video suggest another possible explanation for the open hand in the archer move, other than just an energy thing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NExY14Nwn8c

    Is it not a far stretch to straighten the leg on the bow, then come down in the ending position after the arrow is released???

  4. #259
    That is pretty cool.

  5. #260
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    Therapeutic Activity Within a Youth Detention Facility

    Baduanjin Used as a Therapeutic Activity Within a Youth Detention Facility
    BY ELLIS AMDUR ON FEBRUARY 14, 2021 IN UNCATEGORIZED
    Foreword
    BaduanJin 八段錦 (‘eight brocade exercise’) is a classic system of Chinese physical culture. Such systems are generically called qigong. There are an almost innumerable number of qigong sets that integrate, in different proportions, breathwork, stretching, physical exercise and meditative practices. Some are crafted to enhance health; others are for the purpose of developing power or martial arts abilities. Each set can have quite different effects on body and mind. Baduanjin is known to enhance skeletal-muscular fitness and vascular health, as well as enabling practitioners to modulate and control their emotions. [1] The term ‘brocade’ can be interpreted in a variety of ways. One that the author finds most useful is that brocade refers to the body’s web of connective tissue (fascia, ligaments and tendons). These are stretched and strengthened through the integration of specific physical movements with certain breathing techniques. A useful image for this is a Chinese finger trap, a tube of woven bamboo strips, that is inserted on the ends of two fingers, and locks (becomes rigid) when pulled, thereby tightening the weave of the bamboo strips.

    There are a number of variations of baduanjin, both standing and sitting. The set that I use in my clinical practice is a standing set, that has the following exercises:

    Two Hands Hold up the Heavens
    Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Eagle
    Separate Heaven and Earth
    Owl Gazes Backwards or Look Back
    Sway the Head and Shake the Tail
    Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist
    Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely
    Bouncing on the Toes
    A comprehensive discussion about baduanjin would require a book. To do justice to the topic, such a work would include a full discussion of the history of physical culture in China, as well as a discussion of the proto-scientific theories that underpin these exercises. Furthermore, it would also be necessary to discuss the physical and psychological effects that the performance of baduanjin, and whether any of these claims are research-based. Such a study would be further complicated by the variety of exercises, both sitting or standing, that can comprise a baduanjin set, as well as the different ways that the practitioner is taught to execute that set.

    Instead, I will be quite specific here. I am going to discuss one extended case where I used baduanjin as a mode of ‘stealth psychological intervention’ among incarcerated American youth. It is, in essence, a phenomenological case-report. Phenomenological accounts can be of considerable value, because they often bring new, unexpected information. All too often, researchers search for confirmation for what they already expect to be true. Phenomenology introduces us to the unexpected, offering new directions for research on areas of human existence that have not been thought of before.

    Were one to carry out further research on using baduanjin in circumstances much like the following case-account, one would need:

    ‘Differential sorting.’ so that the researcher is sure that she or he has a cohort of incarcerated youth who are detained for similar reasons, coming from similar socio-economic circumstances, etc.
    Several research cohorts. One would need to standardize the practice of a specific set of baduanjin for the study. Or, one could choosing two or more different baduanjin methodologies to compare. Finally, one could add a different type of exercise, anything from yoga to such things as body-weight calisthenics to compare rates of improvement.
    A consideration of teachers. Will differences in teacher personality or style of teaching effect rates of improvements. In other words, is it the messenger or the message?
    In Lock Up: Baduanjin as a Vehicle Towards Personal Integrity
    Approximately thirty years ago, I worked at a community mental health agency, specializing in crisis intervention. The local youth detention facility contacted my supervisor, and outlined the following problem: The facility functioned as a jail for youth under the age of eighteen. They had forty single bed cells, holding young people as young as twelve, detained for misdemeanors like truancy, vandalism and petty theft, as well as holding those either awaiting trial or after- conviction placement in a long-term facility for serious drug dealing, rape, assault and murder. They were approximately ninety percent male, and a number of them were gang affiliated, divided among Crips and Bloods (which were, perhaps surprising to some of my readers, multi-racial) and various Hispanic gangs.

    The detention facility generally had between seventy and eighty young people incarcerated at any time. “Wait a moment,” the reader might ask, having read the number of ‘forty single-bed cells.’ The overflow slept on mattresses in the hallways. The director described the facility as ‘hot,’ meaning that there were frequent conflicts between inmates and staff (called ‘counselors’ rather than ‘correctional officers,’ as is customary in youth facilities) as well as fights among the youths themselves. The director requested that mental health specialists be dispatched to the facility to conduct twice a week group therapy sessions to lower the ‘heat.’

    Another therapist, Carola Schmid and myself, were each dispatched to separately conduct such therapy sessions. They were a disaster. No one talked. What would they talk about anyway? Their crimes? Other people’s crimes? Their gang affiliation or their conflict with other gangs? Each of these would have put them at either legal or physical risk. How about talking about their insecurities, their fears, their loneliness, or their traumas? What do you, the reader, think would happen to any youth who exposed his or her vulnerability within a group where some were predators, and others willingly lent themselves to pack and mob aggression? Any jail or prison community is a dominance hierarchy, and self-disclosure would be the same as painting a bright blue spot on a magpie’s neck—all the other birds in the flock would peck at it, until the bird was killed.

    There were other problems. The population was not stable. Some youth were quickly released—their minor misdemeanors attended to by family, attorneys or probation officers. Others were hospitalized due to complications from drug abuse or mental illness. Others had their crimes adjudicated and they were transferred to other facilities. There was stress among different ethnic groups, different gang affiliations, and the rare girl in the group would, just by her presence, precipitate macho posturing, roughhousing, clowning around or sexual harassment.

    Ms. Schmid and I came up with a plan that we proposed to the facility director and our supervisor. She is an expert at Astanga Yoga, a very powerful, dynamic form, sometimes referred to as ‘power yoga,’ and I am an expert instructor of traditional martial arts. We would go there, alternating on a weekly basis, and she would teach yoga and I would teach baduanjin. [2]

    As I did not attend Ms. Schmid’s classes, I cannot report in detail on her success, but in our regular conversations, she clearly had much the same effect on her classes as I did. (In some respects, Ashtanga Yoga works the body in the same way as baduanjin, but in a much more intense and extreme fashion).

    Ms. Schmid writes of her own classes:

    On one occasion, I wanted to teach them handstands without the wall, so I asked them to get in groups of three, so two people could help/spot the person going in the handstand. There was some reluctant movement and then one kid said, “No f**king way,” which seemed to be what all the other kids were thinking. I asked why, to which he replied “I don’t f**king trust anyone in here.” They agreed that they would all try if I was one of the two people helping/spotting, and we worked our way through the group.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  6. #261
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    continued from previous post

    As to my work, please remember that each class would have about 70% new members. Those who were there on a regular basis were awaiting trial on felony charges. Each session, therefore, required an introduction. We would meet in an open space, much like a volleyball court, myself and about fifteen to twenty youth. After a brief introduction, invariably, one young man would ask, “So, you are going to teach us to kick ass?”

    My reply, “You don’t know how to do that? You need some old man to teach you?” I would say this with a smile, so the youth was teased by his comrades, not shamed. I would then continue: “You really think I would teach you anything that would make you a better fighter? I am doing this for a living. This is my job. I don’t even know you guys. If I teach you something that makes you a better fighter and you get out and use it, then what’s the paper going to say? ‘Youth taught martial arts at Thomas Abernathy Youth Center, arrested in assault.’ I’d lose my job. I’m not going to lose my job over you guys!”

    This would break the ice. Some kids would laugh. Most would smile. Then, “So let me ask you a question. Don’t you hate it when someone makes you mad? There you were, minding your own business, having a good day, and someone makes you mad, you lose your temper, and maybe you end up doing something you didn’t plan to do, maybe not even want to do. Maybe that’s why you ended up here. Well, I’m going to teach you some exercises that have the possibility of altering your mind, so that other people won’t be able to make you mad. You’ll only get mad when you want to be mad.” And then we would begin.

    Perhaps the reader might ask why I didn’t explain the negative consequences of anger in one’s life, or how these techniques would help one control one’s temper and not get angry at all. This would be naïve. These youth lived in a world of power, obsessively focused on dominance hierarchies within their own small societies, both out of the detention facility and within it as well. Any admission that they needed help being less angry would appear to others as weakness. As one young man said to a therapist-associate of mine, “Ma’am, that sounds really nice, what you are saying about anger. But if I tried what you are saying—and it worked—I wouldn’t last a week in my neighborhood.”

    Every once in a while, a young man would test me. He would start clowning around, bothering other youth, maybe posturing up to me. I’d send him away from the group, calmly, without rancor, saying something like, “We’re here to work. You aren’t working here. You have to go back to your cell. Tell the counselor over there.” This was very important for all the young people in the group. That youth was the emissary of all the kids, whether he knew it or not, because everyone there had a question: “Could we make you mad?” If they could, then nothing I presented offered them a thing—they would see me as just another version of them—a full-grown wolf lying to a pack of wolf-cubs. I wanted to show them something else, that a fully developed human possesses his or her emotions, rather than emotions possessing him or her.

    The results of this training were clear. Ms. Schmid and I were told that after a year of the program, critical incidents were down fifty percent, even though no other changes had been made within the facility. Was it the baduanjin? Or the yoga? Or both? Or was it something else as well—Ms. Schmid and I embodying, literally, calm and dignity in the context of powerful trained movement. This combination was something that the young people could attach to as a exemplar of something they wished to become. It is my best guess that Ms. Schmid and I had a synergistic effect, at least with the inmates who attended both of our classes. She is a powerful but kind woman, and treats people in a very similar way as my own: frank and direct, never ingratiating herself to be liked. I think that, for the youth, getting the same ‘model of adulthood’ from a powerful man and a powerful woman was very positive.

    However, beyond modeling, what specifically did baduanjin offer these young people? There are many ways to execute these exercises—I deliberately taught them in a way that required the practitioner to tense to the degree that they were ‘intolerable.’ Then, they would continue the movement progressively relaxing. Then, when relaxation became ‘intolerable,’ the practitioner continues the cycle of the movements, incrementally increasing the tension.

    My intention was that these youth would have the experience of managing tension and release within their bodies, according to their will. Theoretically, the mind and body being intertwined in an inextricable braid of experience, this would reverberate into ‘tension’ and ‘release’ within their thinking processes and emotional reactions. For example, if, in the middle of an exercise, a young person had a troubling thought, giving rise to a troubling emotion, he or she could change his or her somatic state, at will, and notice the ebb and flow of his or her cognitive and emotional processes. By doing this by himself or herself, the young person was not dependent on another person for his or her sense of well-being or threat. Finally, because these exercises were associated with martial arts practice, these young people, obsessed with power, were able to separate this from other activities that might offer the same benefits, but were unacceptable due to their culture (that of youth who saw themselves as outlaws).

    Let me conclude this section with one poignant story which illustrate the effective of baduanjin as a vehicle to perceive another way of being. [3]

    Angel
    There was a young man who attended my classes for a span of some months. He was golden-skinned, tall and lean, with long raven-black hair. His name was Angel. He never spoke to any of the other boys, walking through them like a panther through a mob of yard dogs. He always took a position at the periphery of the group, as far away from me as he could be—but he never took his eyes off of me, and he did the exercises meticulously. After some weeks, I asked staff about him. “He beat a man nearly to death—he was in a coma for months—and Angel was tried as an adult. He got twenty-five years. They are just waiting for a bed to open in the youth offender wing of the prison where he’ll be kept until he is eighteen—then he’ll be transferred to general population. Be careful of him—he’s the most dangerous kid in here.”

    One day I arrived and one of the staff told me, “Angel is going up today.” I nodded and went to class. Angel was there, silent, doing the exercises, meticulous as always. When the class ended, contrary to his habit, he lingered until everyone else had left. Then he walked towards me, slowly, his eyes fixed on mine. It looked like he was preparing to confront me physically, but at the proper distance, he veered off at an angle and paused, still looking me in the eyes. I said to him, “Where you are going, control of your emotions is the only thing that will save your life. Do your time and get home.” He walked past me, and over his shoulder, he whispered, “I wish you were my dad.”

    Footnotes
    [1] Cheng, Fung Kei, PhD, (2015) Effects of Baduanjin on Mental Health: A Comprehensive Review, Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 19, 138-149

    [2] It is obvious that Ms. Schmid’s involvement complicates this account, in terms of making definitive pronouncements as to baduanjin’s effectiveness alone (or Astanga Yoga, for that matter). Hence the need for more research.

    [3] A more extensive version of this paper, with a second story/case account, will be a contribution to the forthcoming Open Access Online Anthology about (Asian) Martial (and Movement) Arts and (Psycho-)therapy. The anthology will be published and hosted by the European Academy of Biopsychosocial Health (Germany), a state recognized professional training academy for psychosocial professionals and psychotherapists in Germany under the lead of Prof. em. (VU Amsterdam) Dr. Dr. Dr. Hilarion G. Petzold. The main focus of the anthology will be Martial Arts and Clinical Therapy/Psychotherapy and Martial Arts, Pedagogics and Personal Development. In addition, there will also be articles on Martial Arts History, Philosophy and Culture. More than 100 academic or clinical experts and martial arts practitioners from around the world will contribute to this project. The anthology will be published in 2022.

    Reference
    Cheng, Fung Kei, PhD, (2015) Effects of Baduanjin on Mental Health: A Comprehensive Review, Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 19, 138-149
    Threads
    Baduanjin-(8-section-brocade)
    Qigong-as-Medicine
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #262
    Great article, thanks.

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